Amanda O’Leary, an experienced coach who played the sport at its highest level, enters her fifth season at the helm of the Florida Gators. O’Leary has turned her team into a national powerhouse since its inception in 2010.
Hired to lead Florida’s inaugural lacrosse team on June 22, 2007, O’Leary had the opportunity to recruit and organize the program before the Gators began competition in the 2010 season.
Her impressive career record of 225-83 (.730) ranks among the best of active head coaches in the nation. In just four seasons, she has taken Florida to a NCAA Final Four, three NCAA quarterfinal appearances, three ALC regular season titles and one ALC tournament championship. She’s also coached seven Gators who have earned 34 All-America honors, two Tewaaraton Award finalists and a Honda Sports Award finalist.
She helped guide the Gators in their fourth year to an 18-3 overall record and their third consecutive trip to the NCAA quarterfinals. Florida also grabbed a share of its third ALC regular season title with a 4-1 conference record. Along the way, UF posted its best start in program history as they began 2013 with a 13-0 record including taking down No. 5 North Carolina for the first time in four tries in Chapel Hill in the season opener. Florida defeated nine ranked opponents throughout the season, including a 22-4 romp of No. 4 Northwestern at Dizney Stadium on Senior Day as part of a 10-0 undefeated home record. Headed into the 2014 season, Florida boasts a 19 game win streak at home.
Florida finished in the top 10 nationally on both sides of the ball. The Florida defense proved again this season to be one of the best in the nation, finishing second in scoring defense as it allowed just 6.81 goals per game. In contrast, the Florida offense finished tied for fifth in scoring offense with 14.76 goals per game.
O’Leary was named the ALC Coach of the Year for the second time in four seasons and boasted four of the five ALC Players of the Year in Kitty Cullen (offensive), Brittany Dashiell (midfield), Sam Farrell (defensive) and Mikey Meagher (goalie). In addition, she coached Florida’s second Tewaaraton Award finalist in Mikey Meagher, who also swept the Goalie of the Year honors from the IWLCA, SynapseSports.com and WomensLax.com.
O’Leary followed her sophomore success with a powerful 2012 campaign, leading the Gators to a 19-3 record, and bringing home Florida’s second-consecutive ALC regular-season title, its first-ever ALC Tournament title, and its first NCAA Final Four berth. The team was consistently ranked in the top five in both major polls throughout the year, and entered the NCAA Tournament ranked No. 1 in the nation while leading the country in scoring defense and scoring margin.
On March 28, 2012, the defensive-minded head coach led her team to its first-ever shutout, defeating Fresno State, 29-0, in the largest shutout in NCAA history. O’Leary followed that performance with a 20-11 home victory over Penn State on April 1, after which she became just the 12th women’s lacrosse coach in NCAA history to capture 200 career Division I wins. Her successful month continued on April 21, when the Gators knocked off the undefeated, top-ranked Northwestern Wildcats, taking down a No. 1 team for the first time and securing Florida’s second ALC title in as many seasons. The Gators did it again on May 5, defeating NU, 14-7, in the ALC Championship game to earn their first ALC Tournament title and were recognized with the unanimous No. 1 ranking in the following week’s IWLCA poll.
O’Leary’s 2012 squad boasted six All-Americans with 14 honors. Under her tutelage, Mikey Meagher was named the National Goalie of the Year by multiple organizations after becoming just the third netminder in NCAA history to lead the nation in both save percentage and goals-against average. Junior Brittany Dashiell shined on both ends of the field, garnering a unanimous First Team All-America selection and being named as a finalist for both the Tewaaraton Award and the Honda Sports Award. Additionally, freshmen Shannon Gilroy and Nora Barry developed tremendously under her watchful eye. Barry’s prolific offense and strong ground game garnered her ALC Rookie of the Year, while Gilroy emerged as a true draw specialist, improving tremendously every day and becoming one of three freshmen to earn All-America honors. Florida’s successful season garnered O’Leary National Coach of the Year honors from WomensLax.com and was also named the IWLCA South Region Coach of the Year.
In just its second year of competition, the Florida lacrosse team reached as high as a No. 2 national ranking, won 14 consecutive games, accomplished an undefeated 11-0 home season, won the regular-season conference title outright, had six All-ALC honors, eight ALC weekly honors, six National Player of the Week recognitions, six All-America honors and, under O’Leary’s watchful eye, had Kitty Cullen honored as the ALC Player of the Year and nominated for the Tewaaraton Award as only a sophomore. Following the 2011 season, O’Leary was named ALC Coach of the Year and IWLCA South Region Coach of the Year.
The Gators defeated seven ranked opponents in 2011, including eventual 2011 NCAA Champion, Northwestern, and 2010 national semifinalist, Syracuse. On April 14, Florida defeated then-No. 2 Northwestern, the six-time National Champions, handing the Wildcats their first ALC regular season loss in seven years.
After O’Leary reeled in the nation’s No. 1 Recruiting Class, many people around the nation were anxious to see how the Gators would stack up in their first season of Division I action. Facing a schedule ranked the 21st-toughest in the nation, Florida posted a 10-8 record in 2010, becoming just the sixth school in Division I women’s lacrosse history to earn at least 10 wins in their first season.
The Gators won three games against top-20 opponents in 2010, highlighted by their first American Lacrosse Conference victory over No. 14 Penn State and a 14-3 win over No. 20 Johns Hopkins in the ALC Tournament quarterfinals. Freshmen Ashley Bruns, Brittany Dashiell and Jamie Reeg were named to the ALC Second Team under O’Leary’s tutelage in 2010.
O’Leary came to UF from Yale, where she led the Bulldogs for 14 seasons. Yale set the school record for season wins with 14 in O’Leary’s second year (1995) and twice equaled that mark (1999 and 2003). She took Yale to two of its three NCAA Championship appearances, as the Bulldogs reached the 2003 quarterfinal round and the 2007 opening round.
Yale finished among the Ivy League’s top three in 11 of her 14 years, which includes a share of the 2003 Ivy League title with Princeton and Dartmouth, as each posted identical 6-1 records in conference play. After leading Yale to a share of the Ivy League title and advancing to NCAA Championship play, O’Leary was named the 2003 Northeast Regional Coach of the Year. She also was recognized as the USWLA Regional Coach of the Year in 1996. Bulldog players have earned a total of 19 All-America honors under O’Leary.
During her playing career, O’Leary was a four-year starter for Temple’s lacrosse and field hockey teams. A two-time All-American in both sports, O’Leary led the Owl’s lacrosse team to a 19-0 record and the national championship in 1988. O’Leary was the Midfielder of the Year selection for the NCAA All-Tournament teams in 1987 and 1988 as well as the NCAA Most Valuable Player in 1988. Lacrosse Magazine also selected her as its 1988 Player of the Year.
While suiting up with Temple’s field hockey team, O’Leary garnered 1986 and 1987 All-America honors and helped the Owls reach the NCAA semifinals in 1984.
In 2005, O’Leary was inducted into the National Lacrosse Hall of Fame. She also became a member of the Temple Owls’ Hall of Fame in the fall of 2004. O’Leary was named to the NCAA Women’s Lacrosse 25th Anniversary Team in the fall of 2006.
She was the youngest player and starter on the 1989 U.S. World Cup team that claimed the International Federation of Women’s Lacrosse Association (IFWLA) gold medal in Perth, Australia. O’Leary was the second-leading scorer on the 1993 U.S. World Cup team which repeated as the IFWLA World Cup champions in Edinburgh, Scotland. In the 1993 World Cup, O’Leary scored 17 points, including the game-winner versus Australia in the semifinal game.
Prior to taking the Yale head coaching position, O’Leary was an assistant at Maryland for the 1992 and 1993 seasons. The Terrapins claimed the 1992 NCAA title and reached the semifinals in 1993. It was her second stint with the Terrapins, as she started her coaching career with Maryland as a graduate assistant coach in 1989 before serving as an assistant at Delaware for the 1990 campaign.
O’Leary has also served as the chair of the U.S. Team selection and on the former U.S. Women’s Lacrosse Association (USWLA) Board of Directors. She was an assistant coach with the U.S. Women’s Developmental Team from 2002-05 and has been a member of the Connecticut Lacrosse Foundation Executive Committee since 1993.
She has a daughter, Madison, and a son, Ryan. She graduated cum laude from Temple in 1988 with a bachelor’s degree in exercise physiology and kinesiology.
The Amanda O’Leary File
Hometown: Royersford, Pa. (Spring-Ford High School)
Education: Temple University (1988, Bachelor's of Arts degree – exercise physiology and kinesiology)
University of Florida, Head Coach (2010-present, 4 seasons)
- Three NCAA appearances (2011, ’12, ‘13)
- NCAA Final Four (2012)
- Three ALC titles (2011, ’12. ‘13)
- ALC Tournament Champion (2012)
- WomensLax.com Coach of the Year (2012)
- IWLCA South Region Coach of the Year (2011)
- ALC Coach of the Year (2011, ‘13)
- IWLCA South Region Coach of the Year (2012)
Yale University, Head Coach (1994-2007, 14 seasons)
- Two NCAA appearances (2003, ‘07)
- Ivy League Tri-Champion (2003)
- Northeast Regional Coach of the Year (2003)
- USWLA Regional Coach of the Year (1996)
University of Maryland, Assistant Coach (1992-93)
- Two NCAA Finals appearances (1992, ’93)
- NCAA Championship (1992)
University of Delaware, Assistant Coach (1991)
University of Maryland, Graduate Assistant Coach (1990)
- U.S. Women's Elite Lacrosse Team (1985-95)
- Temple University Lacrosse (1985-88)
- Temple University Field Hockey (1984-87)
- Brine/IWLCA All-America First Team (1987, ’88)
- NCAA All-Tournament Team (1987, ’88)
- NCAA Midfielder of the Year (1987, ’88)
- NCAA Championships MVP (1988)
- Lacrosse Magazine NCAA Player of the Year (1988)
- U.S. National Team’s gold-medal winning team at IFWLA World Cup (1989, ’93)
- Beth Allen Award Lifetime Achievement (1997)
- Field Hockey
- Second-Team All-American (1986)
- First-Team All-American (1987)
Hall of Fame (Year Inducted):
- U.S. Lacrosse National Hall of Fame (2005)
- Temple Athletic Hall of Fame (2004)
- Southeastern Pennsylvania Lacrosse Hall of Fame by the Philadelphia Lacrosse Association (2007)
- NCAA Women's Lacrosse 25th Anniversary Team (2006)
- All-Century Women's Lacrosse Team (1999) by Lacrosse Magazine
- Temple University Athletics’ Hall of Fame as part of the 1988 NCAA Championship team (2012)
|Amanda O’Leary Career Record|
|2007||Yale||13||4||.765||6||1||.857 (2nd)||First Round||11|